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Milwaukee, Merrillville and Indianapolis, 16-18 April 2010

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake

The Emerson & Lake tour was billed as an 'Intimate Evening with Keith Emerson & Greg Lake', and it was just as advertised.

The atmosphere was a gathering of friends and fans from the past listening to the music from Emerson & Lake that we grew up with and were huge fans of.

This was different from a typical ELP show with different song arrangements and presentations of the music. As much as I would love to see another ELP show, this seemed to be a great way for the two to perform a concert at this stage of their careers.

It was a chance for Emerson & Lake to perform music from their past and to share stories about the songs with their long time fans. I know that some of us thought that this would be an unplugged show, but it was not. Emerson didnít even have his grand piano with him and Lake played bass most of the show.

If the venue was big enough, the stage became 'Manticore Studios'. It consisted of a back stone wall with a large window in the middle. In the window, you could see recording equipment like at a studio, and someone in there actual recording the music.

The shows started with Emerson playing a little intro piece that went into 'From the Beginning'. Greg Lakeís voice was excellent. It was this best he sounded in years.

Then they performed 'I Talk to the Wind', from Lakeís King Crimson days, 'Bitches Crystal', 'The Barbarian' and 'Take a Pebble' which led into 'Tarkus'. Other than some parts being shortened, 'Tarkus' was performed in its entirety concluding with 'Aquatarkus', where Emerson did some impressive improvising on the moog and keyboard during the song.

Emerson and Lake seemed to be experimenting with the songs that made the performance a little different each night. Iím sure Emerson and Lake cringed when a mistake was made, but they would humorously pass it off with a facial expression or a funny comment.

Between songs during the whole show, the two would tell wonderful stories about the songs, how they got started or various other things that had happened to them in the past. I had the chance to see three shows and was happy to find out that the stories were not scripted because they were told somewhat differently each night.

After a break, they started with 'Cest la Vie'. The first two nights, Emerson put on the accordion but took it off when the song started. At the third show, he stayed with it a played the solo for the song.

Emerson was amazing as always, which he really showcased with the next songs. First, he played a solo. The first night he played a 'Prelude to Hope'. The next two shows he played a more aggressive fast pace piece. Iím sorry that I donít know exactly what he played, but I think he said it was from Ginastera.

Next, the two played 'America' and 'Rondo'. Emerson once again showed his talent at the keyboard, part of which was playing with moog and playing the keyboard backwards.

After that, the lights were turned up on the audience and Emerson and Lake had a Q and A with the fans. This was the most enlightening part of the evening with interesting questions and answers.

The set then ended with 'Pirates'. A different twist had Lake speaking the first verse of the song before kicking into the music. For an encore the two performed 'Lucky Man'.

I definitely felt a mutual respect for Emerson and Lake from the fans, and felt that Emerson and Lake had a great respect for each other and the fans also. Apart from Carl Palmer not being there, this was a must see show for ELP fans.

Review and photo by Tim Ballentine

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